FORMULA 1

MAX ON POLE FOR BRAZIL

Max has a pole position he now will dearly want to convert into a victory after a win was snatched from his grasp in the same race last year. The Red Bull driver was rightly pleased with a performance of control and pace to take the top spot but acknowledged the task is to complete the job. Despite his form at Interlagos, victory is never a given.

Although this is the first time he has qualified in the top three at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Verstappen has great form at this track, including a standout performance in the wet in 2016. Last year he had also driven a superb race and was comfortably leading when he was struck and spun by Esteban Ocon who was attempting to unlap himself, costing the Dutchman the win. The two exchanged words and a spot of pushing and shoving afterwards.

Verstappen was furious but has the opportunity to put it behind him with victory on Sunday. He put himself in the best place to do so with a commanding performance. The car, he said, had been “on fire”, a welcome change from the majority of races where it has struggled against the power of Mercedes and Ferrari. “The car was flying and really enjoyable to drive. I’m really happy with this pole,” he said. “I’ll try to finish it off.”

The Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, acknowledged his performance. “He just got the car really hooked up and the whole package has been working really well,” he said. “It was brilliant from him.”

Verstappen’s rivals certainly had no answer as Ferrari’s’ Sebastian Vettel was held to second and Lewis Hamilton third, both over a 10th back. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was in fourth but will receive a 10-place grid penalty for taking a new engine. Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Mercedes, in front of Red Bull’s Alexander Albon.

FORMULA 3

VIPS TAKES SPECTACULAR POLE FOR QUALIFICATION RACE

Jüri Vips took a spectacular pole position for the Qualification Race for Suncity Group Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – FIA F3 World Cup.

The Estonian was in the fight for pole throughout the session, one of a number of drivers to enjoy a spell as the pacesetter in the first half of the second qualifying session.

But it was only after a stoppage to clear pole contender Marcus Armstrong’s crashed car that Vips really showed his hand, breaking the two minute, five second barrier with a stunning 2:04.99 lap – five seconds faster than last year’s pole time – with seven minutes to go.

While that time initially left him six-tenths clear of the field, the gap was swiftly closed to just under four-tenths by Robert Shwartzman. However, that was as close as the Russian could get, a late red flag due to a stranded Yuki Tsunoda confirming Vips as the 2019 Qualification Race polesitter.

Callum Ilott will start the Qualification Race from third, the Briton impressive on what is his outright debut in an FIA F3 car.

Most of the top 10 broke into the two minute five seconds, with Christian Lundgaard, Richard Verschoor, Jake Hughes, Frederik Vesti and Arjun Maini locking out positions fourth to eighth.

Armstrong, meanwhile, will start from ninth, despite his session-ending crash with 20 minutes to go. The Kiwi’s afternoon started with a brush of the wall at Moorish Hill on an early run, which required some minor repairs before he could set a representative time.

He then became the first driver into the ‘fives’ with a 2:05.95, which he promptly followed up by slamming the wall at Police on his next run.

The Armstrong red flag was great news for Dan Ticktum, as his Carlin Buzz Racing crew scrambled to repair his car after his practice crash with David Beckmann. In the four-hour break, the team had to replace the engine, gearbox, rear wing and more, the stoppage creating just enough of a time buffer for the Briton to get out on track. Despite only getting eight laps in he was able to qualify 13th.

It was a similar story for Beckmann, the German only getting out for a five-lap run that left him 24th for the session.

Formula 3

HUGHES TAKES PROVISIONAL POLE

Jake Hughes is the provisional polesitter for the 2019 Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – FIA F3 World Cup after narrowly beating David Beckmann in the first of two qualifying sessions.

The Briton smashed this morning’s unofficial lap record in the process of topping the session, his 2:06.793 time now the fastest ever Formula 3 lap around the Guia circuit.

It was Marcus Armstrong who set the early qualifying pace, a 2:10.154 putting him a tenth clear of SJM Prema Theodore Racing teammate Robert Shwartzman after the first representative runs.

On 10 minutes the session was stopped for the first time, Enaam Ahmed bringing out the red flag thanks to a trip down the Lisboa Bend escape road.

The restart was followed by a wave of improvements, with Shwartzman leading the way as times dipped into the 2:08s. But the green running was brief, Lisboa Bend striking again as Max Fewtrell hit the outside wall to spark a second stoppage.

Once again, the restart brought a new benchmark, Jüri Vips charging to the top with a 2:06.943. But the Estonian’s stint at the top was brief, Jake Hughes banking the time that would ultimately top the session minutes later. At the same time David Beckmann slipped into second, his time just 0.05s short of Hughes and less than a tenth faster than Vips.

With five minutes to go there was another stoppage when Olli Caldwell’s Trident Motorsport entry rolled to a stop on the way out of Fishermen’s Bend. But this time there was no improvement from the restart, a run of yellow flags, and a final red when Yuki Tsunoda hit the wall at Maternity Bend, helping Hughes’ lap remain unchallenged.

Armstrong ended up fourth behind Vips, the Kiwi struggling with traffic throughout the session. Logan Sargeant was an impressive fifth, followed by two-time race winner Dan Ticktum and Callum Ilott.

Frederik Vesti was eighth quickest, with Shwartzman left in ninth after a bad run with yellow and red flags, and an out-lap spin on his final run.

WEC

PEUGEOT TO RETURN TO LE MANS 2022

Peugeot Sport has announced that it will join the FIA World Endurance Championship’s ‘Hypercar’ top class from 2022 onwards.  The French marque made this short announcement via social media, stating simply that it will enter with a ‘Hybrid-Powered’ Hypercar, with “More news to come at the beginning of 2020.”

This announcement marks the return to the top of endurance racing and the Le Mans 24 Hours for Peugeot, after eight years away. It was last seen back in 2011, where it competed in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (including the Le Mans 24 Hours) with diesel-powered 908 LMP1 cars.

Peugeot’s diesel prototypes ruled Le Mans in 2009. Image by Kevin Wood/LAT

“Superb news from Peugeot!” FIA WEC CEO Gerard Neveu said in reaction to the news. “We can’t wait for you to rejoin the FIA WEC family!”

The brand was due to enter the FIA WEC in its inaugural season back in 2012 to compete against Audi and Toyota with a hybrid-powered 908 (Hybrid4), but pulled the plug on its program just weeks before the season opener at Sebring for financial reasons.

Peugeot stated that the “cost savings permitted by the WEC’s new Hypercar regulations and the confirmation that the series will feature hybrid power units led the Groupe PSA Executive Committee to approve the Peugeot brand’s proposal to participate in the world’s premier endurance racing championship from 2022.”

“I am very excited at the prospect of channeling the skills and passion of my team into this project,” said PSA Motorsport Director Jean-Marc Finot “It is a new challenge and I know our experts will rise to it with another demonstration of their will to win with teams financed by the Group’s brands, fueled by their long experience of top-flight FIA championships and hunger for success.”

Peugeot Brand Director Jean-Philippe Imparato added: “The changes that the FIA WEC is introducing fit now with the transition we are undergoing ourselves with the electrification of our range and the launch of high-performance products, developed in close association with PSA Motorsport and foreshadowed by the Concept 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered. These initiatives are completely in tune with Peugeot’s ‘Motion and E-motion’ brand signature.”

DAKAR RALLY

ALONSO ON MAIDEN DAKAR RALLY RAID PODIUM

Fernando Alonso scored his maiden rally raid podium in Saudi Arabia on Sunday as he continued his preparations for January’s Dakar Rally.

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso entered the five-day Al Ula-Neom Cross-Country Rally with Toyota in Saudi Arabia, giving him and co-driver Marc Coma a first run-out in conditions similar to what they can expect at the Dakar.

Alonso and Coma took third on the final two days of the rally to rise up to P3 in the final overall standings, benefitting from an overnight penalty for Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi of Abu Dhabi Racing.

The rally was won by Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Konstantin Zhiltsov, who passed Yasir Seaidan and François Cazalet on the final day.

“It was a good four days preparation for the Dakar and discovering new terrain and new things here,” Alonso said, as quoted by Saudi Gazette.

“To be third in the final two stages and to be third in the overall is the first podium of my life in rally. It is good that it happened now and gives us confidence for Dakar.”

Alonso will enter the Dakar Rally on January 5 as part of a four-car entry from Toyota Gazoo Racing, and currently marks the Spaniard’s only confirmed racing commitments for 2020 thus far.

Alonso is expected to pursue another entry to the Indianapolis 500 as part of his bid to complete the ‘triple crown of motorsport’, but is yet to firm up any plans.

His existing contract with McLaren runs out at the end of this year, with the team set to open talks over any future partnership in the near future.

F1Weekly podcast # 809

THE HOST IS DONE WITH THE 2019 F1 SEASON AND CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE MEANWHILE…NASIR HAMEED IS THE HAPPIEST MAN IN THE WORLD BESIDES LCH!…WE HAVE TECH TALK WITH TIM AND HERE IS A STATEMENT FROM ROGER PENSKE…

ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think to everyone that’s here today and around the world listening to this iconic event, I really have to wind back to 1951 when my dad brought me here when I was 14 years old, and I guess at that point the bug of motor racing got in my blood I’d have to say, and to think about what it’s meant to our company, the brand that we’ve been able to build — it’s interesting, I talked to Mario Andretti today and AJ Foyt, and we all agreed what the Indianapolis 500 has meant to us as individuals and as a company, and certainly our company.

Indy 500 May 29th, 2016 ©2016 Walt Kuhn

And I think that what it really says, that in the United States of America, if you work hard and you’re committed and you have a great group of people, you get great success. So today I hope my dad’s looking down at me and looking at this group and saying, Son, you did a good job.

I’ve got a big commitment here to take over certainly as the steward of this great organization and what’s been done here in the past for so many decades. It’s my commitment to the Hulman family. The fact that you would select us is an opportunity to take on this investment, it’s amazing, and I just want to thank Tony and everyone else that’s been involved in this.

Certainly Mark, you’ve got a great team. We don’t have a gymnasium full of people to bring here. When we buy a business, we look at the people, and the great thing is we’ve rubbed shoulders with many of the people here over the years, so we’ve seen this organization grow, and I certainly think that certainly, IMS Productions does a great job.

What’s happened today with the media partners, there’s just no question that we have the opportunity to grow, and (INDYCAR) will be one of the greatest series as we go forward.

I’m humbled today to say that, and I want to thank Tony, you again and the family for this opportunity, and Mark, I look forward to continuing to work with your team in the future.

Play Podcast: 11-05-19f1weekly809.mp3

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